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Daniel Kaluuya Responded To The Backlash Over His Comments About Race In 2020, And It's Worth Reading

"Why are you asking someone that loves Black people, why people don't like Black people?"

Daniel Kaluuya is currently making the rounds promoting his latest film, Judas and the Black Messiah. During an interview, the British actor was asked if portraying the Black Panther leader Fred Hampton changed his perception of the Black experience in America.

Daniel and others wearing the signature Black Panther beret in 'Judas and the Black Messiah'

For context, during an interview with Radio Times last year Daniel reportedly said, “What is there to talk about race? It’s just boring to me. What’s the debate? I’m more of a doer — I’m just going to do what I want to do.”

Daniel wearing a suit and tie on the red carpet

Naturally, his comments were met with criticism and backlash within the Black community, especially from those who felt he was trivializing the discussion yet also profiting from the pivotal roles he chose to portray:

If Daniel Kaluuya is "bored" talking about race maybe he should rethink which roles he accepts. I'm sure there are any number of Black actors who would be happy to appear in films like "Get Out," "Queen & Slim," etc. and discuss the impact of race in our world.

Daniel used his response to clarify his previous comments and explained how things can easily be taken out of context. "[That interview] taught me the importance of articulation and specificity of articulation," he said. "The sentiment of that [was] Blackness and racism are not synonyms to me."

Daniel speaking into a microphone while wearing a hoodie with the image of a Black man with the word 'Union' on it

"So when white people are sitting me down and asking me, 'Yo, how can I figure out this racism stuff?' Why are y'all asking me?" he questioned.

The 31-year-old then recited a hypothetical story featuring an elderly woman who is robbed at 2 a.m. "They always cut [this] from every interview," he noted.

In the story, when the woman calls the police to report her stolen items she's taken in to the station and held for hours before being interrogated herself. In this hypothetical situation, the first question the police asks is, "Tell us why you got robbed."

Sounds ridiculous, right? Yeah, that's the point. Under normal circumstances, you'd never "ask the person that's the victim of a crime why the crime happened," he explained.

"So I'm sitting there in this interview impacted by racism and they're asking me why its happened? I came in this game in '89. I don't fucking know. I don't know why."

"So when I say, 'I'm tired of talking...' That's the conversations that are being had, but they're not highlighting their side of the conversation. They're putting [me] out there and I'm sitting there like, 'Yo, why are you asking me about this? You don't ask white people about this.'"

Daniel's candid response was met with praise on social media, with many saying that they were happy he got to "set the record straight."

@ringer @VanLathan @TheRachLindsay This is great. I'm glad he had the opportunity to set the record straight bc those quotes definitely made the rounds. More than that though, this is a powerful articulation of what we all feeling man. Same thing Toni Morrison and others have tried to explain forever.

@sReginald / Twitter: @sReginald

Others shared that they've had similar conversations with their white colleagues at work:

@ringer @RichieBrave @VanLathan @TheRachLindsay That! Had similar convos with white folks at work. Squirm or silence, deflection or very few will go research.

@petite_cyclis / Twitter: @petite_cyclis

That Daniel Kaluuya clip has articulated what I have been trying to say all week. Sick and tired of colleagues sending me articles and asking me dumb questions about race. Leave me alone. I don't know the answer. I'm just trying to live my life!

@Nikewithatick / Twitter: @Nikewithatick

This person said he "perfectly articulated how frustrating it is for Black folks having to account for how to fix racism and how that in itself is a hindrance to our progress."

Daniel Kaluuya perfectly articulated how frustrating it is for black folks having to account for how to fix racism and how that in itself is a hindrance to our progress. We shouldn't have to stop to explain any of this. Y'all figure it out. I'm here to get my shit unimpeded.

@Bang4UrBuk / Twitter: @Bang4UrBuk

Can relate.

Basically, this tweet encapsulated the overall sentiment after his interview went viral:

I just love the way Daniel kaluuya carries himself in interviews man, seems like a good genuine soul

Twitter: @Krimdelakrim2

You can watch Daniel's full interview with Van Lathan and Rachel Lindsay on their Higher Learning podcast here.